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[sahyz-muh-graf, -grahf, sahys-] /ˈsaɪz məˌgræf, -ˌgrɑf, ˈsaɪs-/
any of various instruments for measuring and recording the vibrations of earthquakes.
Origin of seismograph
1855-60; seismo- + -graph
Related forms
[sahyz-muh-graf-ik, sahys-] /ˌsaɪz məˈgræf ɪk, ˌsaɪs-/ (Show IPA),
seismographical, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for seismograph


/ˈsaɪzməˌɡrɑːf; -ˌɡræf/
an instrument that registers and records the features of earthquakes. A seismogram (ˈsaɪzməˌɡræm) is the record from such an instrument Also called seismometer
Derived Forms
seismographic (ˌsaɪzməˈɡræfɪk) adjective
seismographer (saɪzˈmɒɡrəfə) noun
seismography, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for seismograph

"instrument for measuring the motions of an earthquake," 1858, from seismo- + -graph. Based on Italian sismografo, coined and invented by Luigi Palmieri (1807-1896), director of meteorological observation on Mount Vesuvius. Related: Seismographic; seismography (1865).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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seismograph in Science
An instrument that detects and records vibrations and movements in the Earth, especially during an earthquake. Most seismographs employ a pendulum mounted within a rigid framework and connected to a mechanical, optical, or electromagnetic recording device. When the Earth vibrates or shakes, inertia keeps the pendulum steady with respect to the movements of the frame, producing a graphic record of the duration and intensity of the Earth's movements. Separate instruments are needed to record the north-south horizontal, east-west horizontal, and vertical components of a tremor. By comparing the records produced by seismographs located in three or more locations across the Earth, the location and strength of an earthquake can be determined.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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